It feels like it’s the 200th day of February. According to KMTV Omaha’s snowfall is now double the normal average at 40.5 inches. We haven’t seen temperatures over freezing in weeks. It is the kind of cold that seems to settle in your bones. The kind of cold that grabs a hold of you and doesn’t let go. With so many folks cooped up, it also seems like everyone has a cough or a case of the sniffles. It’s cold, it’s grey and it’s gloomy.
With so much to complain about, how do we refocus on what is important?
The Power of Positivity
According to the University of Wisconsin- Madison, “There is a science that is emerging that says a positive attitude isn’t just a state of mind. It also has linkages to what’s going on in the brain and in the body.”
- Lower cardiovascular risk
- Lower levels of stress hormone, cortisol
- Less inflammation
- Strengthened immune system
Knowing that the connection spans beyond just how we *feel* but how we function, having and keeping a positive attitude is well worth the investment. It doesn’t just happen without some calculated nudging and that takes practice and deliberation.
Positivity as a Culture
Positivity needs to extend beyond a personal characteristic and evolve into a culture. As leaders our employees see us, see our reactions and our tendencies and pick up that energy. Here are a few ways that we create that bridge for our teams.
If you don’t like the game, change the game. Evaluate the elements and determine which pieces you can directly manage, which pieces you can influence and which parts you will have to live with. Owning your piece of a solution is empowering and removes stagnation. You can’t fix it all, but there is always something you can improve upon – even if it is your own attitude.
With so much negativity out there, deliberately focusing on the positive helps redirect thoughts, actions, and feelings towards the BEST of what we and our teams can do. When we reward hard work we send a message that we are looking for efforts to celebrate. That is a powerful tool and a motivator for high performance.
Hit the Reset Button
When something seems to be spiraling out of our control or setbacks seem to pile up, hit the reset button. There is always space to start over how you look at a problem, a person, a relationship. Hitting the reset button wipes out the noise and gives us a renewed opportunity to make progress or solve a problem. It may be a vacation, lunch with a friend or even a few deep breaths when you feel your blood pressure starts to rise.
The Little Things are the Big Things
Most days – even the rough ones present frequent examples of things we can be thankful for. A hug from a friend, a laugh during a meeting, a small success on a long term project, even a gorgeous sunset behind a frozen tundra. If we choose to be thankful for these small moments of grace, the entire day has the opportunity for a new frame of perspective.
Communication and Vocabulary
Check in on your vocabulary. We’ve all been told that frequent, clear and proactive communication are critical components of a successful and engaged organization. What about the words we use? Are we optimistic and upbeat? Do we talk about the “challenges” or do we discuss the “opportunities” instead? Do we linger on the obstacles or do we innovate new ways to grow? Do we make excuses or do we take accountability. As the leader you not only set the tone, you set the example for how others talk about the business from the inside out.
Challenging environments (and sub zero temps may linger), but our reactions can maintain a productive and positive environment. It can also make the time pass more quickly. Do you want to be a negative enforcer and stagnant bystander or do you want to be a driver, motivator and game changer? It’s up to you.